what’s playing now

      WFMT The Morning Program with Carl Grapentine

      Mornings with Carl Grapentine

      Weekdays from 6:00 am-10:00 am

      Keeping up with Carl Grapentine is a little like “Where’s Waldo.” Some people know him as a church musician. Others catch his pre-performance lectures at Symphony Center and Lyric Opera. Still others hear him calling plays for 100,000 football fans at Michigan Stadium. Each day, it’s Carl’s joie de vivre that lights up The Morning Program on WFMT. He’ll report the headlines, what the weather’s doing, and who won the big game (including the winning team’s fight song), and – of course – he’ll play Bach. In short, The Morning Program with Carl Grapentine is as essential to Chicago as that first cup of coffee.

      Carl's Morning Program Quiz

      Wednesday, December 17

      Sergei Prokofiev’s death happened on the exact same day as a very important Soviet figure. Who was it?

      Answer: Stalin

      Tuesday, December 16

      There was a favored pupil of Beethoven to whom he dedicated his Missa solemnis, the “Emperor” Concerto, the “Hammerklavier” sonata and a certain famous piano trio (among many other works). What was his name?

      Answer: Archduke Rudolf of Austria

      Monday, December 15

      Ottorino Respighi was a composer who took great interest in composers of the past, arranging several early compositions for modern orchestras. In 1919 he arranged music into a ballet called “La boutique fantasque”. Upon whose music is it based?

      Answer: Gioacchino Rossini

      Friday, December 12

      The Chicago Symphony has had 10 Music Directors, including Riccardo Muti, since its founding by Theodore Thomas. To this day, one of the best known, aside from Sir Georg Solti is Fritz Reiner. Who was Music Director BEFORE Reiner came to Chicago in 1953?

      Answer: Rafael Kubelik.

      Tuesday, December 9

      Rimsky-Korsakov wrote several works inspired by the orient (including Sheherazade from which we will soon excerpt). His mentor Mily Balakirev did, as well. There is a very famous and difficult eastern-inspired piece by Balakirev called Islamey. What prominent Russian composer orchestrated it?

      Answer: Sergei Liapunov.

      Monday, December 8

      Tchaikovsky wrote three great full-length ballets. Is the Nutcracker the 1st, 2nd or 3rd?

      Answer: The 3rd.

      Friday, December 5

      Max Bruch was interested in music traditions of all nations, writing Swedish Dances, the Scottish Fantasy, Italian inspired works and…a piece based on one of the most revered Jewish melodies. What is it?

      Answer: Kol Nidrei.

      Thursday, December 4

      David Popper was somewhat unusual a cellist in that he didn’t have that little metal thing that sticks out of the bottom of the cello. What is it called?

      Answer: The “endpin” or “spike”.

      Wednesday, December 3

      Gerard Schwarz began his career as a highly regarded trumpeter before becoming a prominent conductor. He was the principal trumpeter of what great American orchestra until 1973?

      Answer: New York Philharmonic.

      Tuesday, December 2

      There is an “opera” company in England that is closely associated with the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, founded in 1870 and closed for the first time in 1982. What is it’s name?

      Answer: The O’Oyly Carte opera Company.

      Monday, December 1

      Arthur Bliss was the "Master of the Queen's Music" for Queen Elizabeth from 1953-1975. Who preceded him in that role?

      Answer: Sir Arnold Bax.

      Tuesday, November 4

      Today is Election Day in the United States. An old song goes: “Yes, the candidate’s a dodger, yes a well-known dodger. The candidate’s a dodger, yes and I’m a dodger too. He’ll meet you and treat you and ask you for your vote. But look out, boys, he’s a dodgin’ for a note.” Who made the best-known setting of that folk song?

      Answer: Aaron Copland in his Old American Songs.

      Monday, November 3

      What is it? It has the highest electrical conductivity of any element. It’s a type of collar coin. It’s a type of Christmas bell. And it’s the color of Orlando Gibbons’ swan. What is it?

      Answer: Silver.

      Friday, October 31

      It’s Halloween. And we’re playing music about ghosts and goblins and things that go “bump” in the…well, morning! We’ve just heard several depictions of the devil, and we have one more coming up when we hear the final scene from The Damnation of Faust. Who composed The Damnation of Faust?

      Answer: Hector Berlioz.

      Thursday, October 30

      The ballet Appalachian Spring with music by Aaron Copland had its premiere on this date in 1944--70 years ago today. The original version of the score called for a 13-member chamber orchestra--because the space for musicians at the Library of Congress was so small. Copland won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Music for the full orchestral version. Who was the dancer and choreographer who commissioned Appalachian Spring and danced the leading role?

      Answer: Martha Graham.

      Wednesday, October 29

      Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni had its premiere on this date in 1787 in Prague. The commission was a result of the great popularity of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in Prague. In the Lyric Opera production of Don Giovanni which ends its run tonight, who has sung the title role?

      Answer: Mariusz Kwiecien.

      Tuesday, October 28

      Today is the birthday of American composer, conductor, and educator Howard Hanson—born in Wahoo, Nebraska in 1896. His Symphony #4, Requiem, won the Pulitzer Prize for Music. For 40 years he served as Director of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. At what college did Howard Hanson receive his B.A. in Music in 1916?

      Answer: Northwestern University.

      Monday, October 27

      Tonight is opening night for Lyric Opera’s production of Verdi’s Il Trovatore. We’ll have the broadcast beginning at 7:15 pm. Two alumni of Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center, now enjoying major careers, are returning to Chicago for major roles in Trovatore. Name either one.

      Answer: Soprano Amber Wagner sings Leonora. Baritone Quinn Kelsey sings Count di Luna.

      Friday, October 24

      A well-known pianist and entertainer once replied to his critics with the words, “What you have said hurt me very much. I cried all the way to the bank!” Who said that?

      Answer: Wladziu Valentino) Liberace.

      Thursday, October 23

      Yesterday was the birthday of the old Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The original Met opened on Broadway between 39th and 40th streets with a performance of a French opera that was exceedingly popular in the late 19th century. What opera opened the Old Met?

      Answer: Charles Gounod’s Faust.

      Wednesday, October 22

      Who am I? My father was employed by Haydn. As a boy, I met Hummel. I played for Beethoven who kissed me. Later I studied with Czerny and Salieri. As a young man I met Berlioz and I heard Paganini play. I became a friend to Chopin and St. Saens. And I became Richard Wagner’s father in law. Who am I?

      Answer: Franz Liszt, born 203 years ago today.

      Tuesday, October 21

      Sir Georg Solti was born on this date in 1912--102 years ago today. Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1969-1991, Sir Georg still holds the record for the most Grammy Awards. One of his first professional positions was as an assistant and rehearsal pianist at the 1937 Salzburg Festival. The 24-year-old Solti even played in the pit for the Salzburg performances of The Magic Flute, conducted by Arturo Toscanini. What instrument did he play?

      Answer: He played the glockenspiel for Papageno’s aria.

      Monday, October 20

      American composer Charles Ives was born on this date in 1874. His earliest musical training came from his father, a Civil War bandmaster, who led the town band. Young Charles played percussion in the band as a young boy and was a church organist as a teenager. He later studied music at Yale. Now considered an American original, his music was largely ignored during his lifetime and he made his living as an insurance agent. In what town was Charles Ives born--where his father served as town bandmaster?

      Answer: Danbury, CT.

      Friday, October 17

      Who am I? I was born on this date in 1977—I’m 37 today. I am of African-American, Korean, and Caucasian ancestry and I grew up in Ventura, California. I studied at Eastman and briefly at Juilliard before being invited tojoin Lyric Opera’s Ryan Center for Young Artists. My big break came in 2005 when I won the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Now I’m enjoying an international career but still consider Chicago my home base. Who am I?

      Answer: Soprano Nicole Cabell.

      Thursday, October 16

      The Chicago Symphony Orchestra played its very first concert on this date in 1891. The orchestra’s founder and conductor Theodore Thomas led a concert of music by Beethoven, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner. Where did that concert take place 123 years ago today?

      Answer: The Auditorium Theater on Congress.

      Wednesday, October 15

      Which operetta by Franz Lehar was a flop in Vienna when it opened with the title The Yellow Jacket, but later became a big hit in Berlin with Richard Tauber starring as a Chinese prince?

      Answer: The Land of Smiles.

      Tuesday, October 14

      Who am I? I was born on this date in 1928 in New York. I began studying piano at the age of 3 and entered the Curtis Institute at 7! I made my professional debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of 19. I studied with Vladimir Horowitz and Rudolf Serkin. In 1980 I joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute and served as its president for 11 years. My autobiography is titled “I Really Should Be Practicing.” Who am I?

      Answer: Gary Graffman.

      Monday, October 13

      What do these pieces of music have in common? Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto #3…Glazunov’s Triumphal March…Stravinsky’s Symphony in C…Walton’s Scapino Overture…and Prokofiev’s opera The Love for Three Oranges?

      Answer: They all had their world premieres in Chicago.

      Friday, October 10

      Today is the 201st anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi. No big celebration—that was last year! And last year the CSO celebrated with concert performances of his opera Macbeth. And Lyric Opera opened its season with Otello. What is Verdi’s third Shakespearean opera?

      Answer: Falstaff.

      Thursday, October 9

      The French composer Camille St. Saens was born on this date in 1835 in Paris; he lived until 1921. He was also a conductor, and organist, and a pianist. A child prodigy at the keyboard, he learned to read and write and the age of 3 and played a recital at the age of 5. He is best-remembered for his opera Samson & Delilah, The Carnival of the Animals, Danse Macabre, and 5 piano concertos. His Marche Militaire Francaise comes from what larger work?

      Answer: Suite Algerienne.

      Wednesday, October 8

      The Russian composer Tchaikovsky spent some very happy times in Italy. One musical result was his Capriccio Italien. He also wrote a string sextet with a title referring to an Italian city. What is that work?

      Answer: Souvenir de Florence.

      Tuesday, October 7

      Another who am I? I was born in Boston on this date in 1746. I began as a tanner before making a meager living as a composer. I died in poverty in 1800. Despite my lack of formal musical training, I became known as the Father of American Choral Music. Who am I?

      Answer: William Billings.

      Monday, October 6

      Who am I? I was born in Ireland in 1856. I first gained fame as a music critic writing under the name Cornetto di Bassetto. One of the best-known playwrights of the 20th century, I won the Nobel Prize for Literature. And I remain the only person to win both an Oscar and a Nobel Prize. I also wrote a book about Wagner. Who am I?

      Answer: George Bernard Shaw.

      Tuesday, September 30

      Today is the anniversary of the first performance of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute. The premiere took place six weeks before Mozart's death in 1791. What Mozart opera just opened Lyric Opera of Chicago's 60th anniversary season?

      Answer: Don Giovanni.

      Monday, September 29

      Igor Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier's Tale) had its premiere September 28, 1918 in Switzerland. Soldier's Tale is a theatrical work "...to be read, played, and danced," as Stravinsky said. It's the classic tale of a man selling his soul to the devil. But in Soldier's Tale, the man's soul is represented by one of his possessions. What does the soldier sell to the devil?

      Answer: His violin.

      Friday, September 26

      American composer George Gershwin was born in this date in 1898 in Brooklyn. He began his career as a song plugger, but soon started composing Broadway theater works and, eventually, classical music. Gershwin’s Catfish Row is a suite drawn from what larger work by Gershwin?

      Answer: The opera Porgy and Bess which will be presented this season by Lyric Opera-Chicago.

      Thursday, September 25

      Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich was born on this date in 1906; he died in 1975. After listening to a phonograph record of a popular song, Conductor Nicolai Malko bet Shostakovich that he could not orchestrate that song from memory in the space of one hour. The song was Tea for Two by Vincent Youmans. What was the title Shostakovich gave to his orchestral version?

      Answer: Tahiti Trot—which he composed in 45 minutes.

      Wednesday, September 24

      Last Friday night, more than 20,000 people crowded into Millennium Park for a free concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra led by Riccardo Muti. The all Tchaikovsky concert held the Symphony #4 and a suite from the ballet The Sleeping Beauty. What was the third Tchaikovsky composition on the program?

      Answer: The symphonic fantasy--The Tempest.

      Tuesday, September 23

      Alexander Borodin, the Russian composer, doctor, and chemist is best remembered for his opera Prince Igor, his symphonies, and his string quartets. Although he died in 1887, he won a Tony Award (Broadway’s annual award) in 1954. Why?

      Answer: Music from Prince Igor and his string quartets was adapted by Robert Wright and George Forrest for the Broadway musical Kismet.

      Monday, September 22

      The Autumnal Equinox occurs at 9:29 this evening, but we’re featuring music for the season this morning on WFMT. Of course, we played Autumn from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi. The Four Seasons are the first 4 concertos in a larger work by Vivaldi consisting of twelve concertos. What is the name of this collection?

      Answer: The Contest Between Harmony and Invention.

      Friday, September 19

      What famous but modest musician once said, “There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself."

      Answer: Johann Sebastian Bach. WFMT’s Bach Organ Project begins this Sunday afternoon when organists Stephen Alltop and Bruce Barber play Bach on the organ of St.Clement’s Catholic Church in Chicago.

      Thursday, September 18

      No quiz today because it's Super Thursday.

      Wednesday, September 17

      The story line of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro is a sequel to Rossini’s opera The Barber of Seville, with most of the characters appearing in both operas. Who wrote the plays on which those operas are based?

      Answer: The French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais.

      Tuesday, September 16

      48 years ago tonight, Thomas Schippers conducted the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s opera Antony and Cleopatra starring Justino Diaz and Leontyne Price in the starring roles. What was the occasion?

      Answer: The opening of the new Metropolitan Opera house in Lincoln Center, NY.

      Monday, September 15

      Who am I? I was born on this date in 1876 in Berlin. I began studying conducting and obtained my first post while still a teenager. In my 20s, I became Gustav Mahler’s assistant at the Court Opera in Vienna. My career flourished in Germany and Austria until I left for the U.S. in 1939. In America I conducted many major orchestras (including the CSO) and at the Metropolitan Opera. I held a post with the N.Y. Philharmonic and made many recordings of the core German repertoire for Columbia Records. Who am I?

      Answer: Bruno Walter

      Friday, September 12

      Gustav Mahler conducted the premiere of his Eighth Symphony on this date in 1910, four years after completing the work and just eight months before he died. What is the nickname for his 8th symphony?

      Answer: The Symphony of a Thousand. That was an understatement at the premiere. The first performance included 858 singers and an orchestra of 171!

      Thursday, September 11

      In American usage, we have the terms whole note, half note, quarter note, etc. But the British have different terms—including quavers, semi-quavers, and, yes, hemi-demi-semi-quavers! What is the British term for a quarter note?

      Answer: A crotchet.

      Wednesday, September 10

      Who am I? I was born in Seaham Harbor, Durham in England 70 years ago today. I was intending a career in medicine when I was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music. I made my operatic debut in 1969 and my Covent Garden debut in 1971. Since then I’ve gone on to an international career in opera and art song. I was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music last year and I am popularly known as “Britain’s favorite baritone.” Who am I?

      Answer: Sir Thomas Allen.

      Tuesday, September 9

      Benjamin Britten’s opera Billy Budd has an all-male cast. What opera by Puccini has an all-female cast?

      Answer: Suor Angelica, one of the three operas in Il Trittico.

      Monday, September 8

      American composer Leonard Bernstein’s Mass had its premiere on this date in 1971. What was the occasion for which it was composed?

      Answer: The opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington D.C.

      Friday, September 5

      Johann Christian Bach was born on this date in Leipzig in 1735. The youngest son of Johann and Anna Magdalena Bach, he studied with his father and with his older brother, CPE Bach. He later moved to Italy and was organist of the Milan Cathedral. Later he moved to another musical capitol and remained there for the rest of his life. What city became the adopted home of JC Bach?

      Answer: London.

      Thursday, September 4

      Today is the birthday of the French composer Darius Milhaud. A member of Les Six, Milhaud’s pupils included Americans Dave Brubeck and Burt Bachrach. One of his most popular Brazilian-influenced compositions has a whimsical title which later gave its name to a celebrated Parisian cabaret which became a meeting place for Jean Cocteau and members of Les Six. What is the name of this composition?

      Answer: Le Boeuf sur le Toit.

      Wednesday, September 3

      Last night’s opera on WFMT was “The Pearlfishers” by Georges Bizet. The opera contains a famous duet in which two fishermen sing of their love for a Brahmin princess. The opera takes place in what was then known as Ceylon. What is the current name of that country?

      Answer: Sri Lanka.

      Tuesday, September 2

      Yesterday, September 1, was the 70th birthday of conductor Leonard Slatkin. The son of Hollywood conductor and violinist Felix Slatkin and cellist Eleanor Aller, Mr. Slatkin has had a long and active career. Of what American orchestra is he currently the music director?

      Answer: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

      Friday, August 29

      The Italian composer Amilcare Ponchieli was born on this Sunday’s date—August 31—in 1834. His most famous melody has been used to accompany dancing hippos in Fantasia and sung as “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” by Alan Sherman. From what opera does that melody come?

      Answer: La Gioconda

      Thursday, August 28

      This opera had its premiere on this date in 1850 in Weimar, Germany. It is based on a medieval German legend. The beginning of Act III contains two of the most famous excerpts in all of opera—the exciting prelude and the opening chorus. Name the opera and the composer.

      Answer: Lohengrin by Richard Wagner

      Wednesday, August 27

      Earlier this morning was our annual “Back to School” segment of the morning show which included the Brahms Academic Festival Overture. Brahms wrote the overture—rather than give a speech—when he was awarded an honorary degree from what university?

      Answer: University of Breslau in Germany--now known as Wroclaw, Poland

      Tuesday, August 26

      The German conductor and pianist Wolfgang Sawallisch was born on this date in 1923--he passed away last year. He had a very long recording career as we've shown this morning. Whom did Maestro Sawallisch follow when he became Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra?

      Answer: Riccardo Muti

      Monday, August 25

      Today is the 96th birthday of American composer, conductor, pianist, lecturer, author—the list goes on and on—Leonard Bernstein. Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts he attended Harvard. He then continued his musical education at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Who was Leonard Bernstein’s conducting professor at Curtis?

      Answer: Fritz Reiner

      Friday, August 22

      Today is Cedille Day on WFMT. We are featuring recordings from the Chicago-based classical record label, Cedille. Our special guest is the founder of Cedille Records, Jim Ginsburg. What does Jim’s mother do for a living?

      Answer: She is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

      Thursday, August 21

      Another “who am I” today—and a fascinating one. I was born 121 years ago today. My mother was a Russian princess who married her teacher at the Paris Conservatory. He was 77 when I was born. Our family friend Gabriel Faure discovered that I had perfect pitch when I was 2. I won the Prix de Rome at the age of 19 but I died at the age of 24. My famous sister lived for another 61 years before she was buried next to me in the Montmartre Cemetery. Who am I?

      Answer: French composer Lili Boulanger, sister of Nadia.

      Wednesday, August 20

      Who am I? I am 40 years old today. I began studying violin at the age of 5 and practiced 7 hours a day. At the age of 16 I began winning major international competitions and recording prizes. Since 2005, I have been a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Due to an injury I didn’t play much for 4 years until returning to the concert stage in 2012. Last year I gave a recital at Ravinia which was re-broadcast last week on WFMT. Who am I?

      Answer: Violinist Maxim Vengerov.

      Tuesday, August 19

      American humorist Ogden Nash was born on this date in 1902. In his version of The Carnival of the Animals by St. Saens, he wrote: “The swan can swim while sitting down, For pure conceit he takes the crown. He looks in the mirror over and over, And claims to have never heard of ___________ .” Fill in the blank.

      Answer: Pavlova.

      Monday, August 18

      The Italian composer Antonio Salieri was born in Legnano on this date in 1750. He was only a little more than 5 years older than Mozart—not significantly older as depicted in Amadeus. Neither was he an enemy of Mozart. Among Salieri’s pupils were Mozart’s son Franz, not to mention Franz Schubert, Franz Liszt, and Beethoven! Who won an Academy Award for his depiction of Salieri in the 1984 film Amadeus?

      Answer: F. Murray Abraham.

      Friday, August 15

      The musical travelogue Ports of Call by Jacques Ibert depicts travels to three different countries. The first section depicts Rome and Palermo in Italy. The second section describes the northern coast of Africa. Where is the third section’s final port of call?

      Answer: Valencia in Spain.

      Thursday, August 14

      Yesterday was the birthday of film director and producer Alfred Hitchcock, born in London in 1899. His American television program ran from 1955-1965. What was the musical theme for his television series? Title AND composer, please.

      Answer: Funeral March of a Marionette by Charles Gounod.

      Wednesday, August 13

      Today marks the anniversary of the opening of the first complete performance of the Ring of the Nibelungs cycle. It began with a performance of Das Rheingold on this date in 1876. It also marked the opening of Wagner's own opera house--built to his specifications in what German city?

      Answer: Bayreuth.

      Tuesday, August 12

      How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank. That line is from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. It's also the first line of what musical composition?

      Answer: Serenade to Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

      Monday, August 11

      Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra is subtitled "Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Henry Purcell." The theme by Purcell comes from his incidental music for a play. What is the FULL name of the play?

      Answer: Abdelazer or The Moor's Revenge.

      Thursday, August 7

      In 1899, a composer wrote the music for a patriotic pageant titled Finland Awakes. One year later he arranged the final portion of that music as an orchestral tone poem. What is the name of the orchestral work and who composed it?

      Answer: Finlandia by Jean Sibelius.

      Wednesday, August 6

      Who am I? I was born on this date in 1809 and I am the second most frequently quoted writer—after Shakespeare—in the Oxford Book of Quotations. ‘Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all… Theirs is not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die…The old order changeth, yielding place to new…Knowledge comes but wisdom lingers. I wrote all those lines. Who am I?

      Answer: Alfred (Lord) Tennyson, author of Ring Out, Wild Bells, The Charge of the Light Brigade, and Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal.

      Tuesday, August 5

      The English folk song begins: It was on the fifth of August, er’ the weather fine and fair, Unto (blank) I did repair, For love I was inclined. To where did the writer repair?

      Answer: Brigg Fair.

      Monday, August 4

      American composer William Schuman was born in New York on this date in 1910. He played violin and banjo as a child and later formed a dance band. But his overwhelming love as a young man was baseball! Later the President of the Juilliard School and of Lincoln Center, Schuman won the very first Pulitzer Prize in Music—and later won another special Pulitzer. He also wrote a short opera about baseball! Name the opera OR the poem it’s based on.

      Answer: Mighty Casey based on Ernest Thayer’s Casey at the Bat.

      Friday, August 1

      Who am I? I was born on this date in 1779 in Carroll Country, Maryland. I was a lawyer, an author, and an amateur poet. My poem “The Defense of Fort McHenry” has achieved great fame as a song—set to a tune by John Stafford Smith. Who am I and what is the title of the song based on my poem?

      Answer: Francis Scott Key “The Star-Spangled Banner."

      Thursday, July 31

      “Play, you gypsy fiddler!” Gypsy music shows up quite often in classical music. Songs, operatic choruses, and instrumental music—many composers have written music with a gypsy flavor. Who wrote a composition for violin and orchestra titled “Gypsy Airs” or “Zigeunerweisen?”

      Answer: Pablo de Sarasate.

      Wednesday, July 30

      The English pianist Gerald Moore was born on this date in 1899. He was best known as an accompanist for some of the world’s finest musicians—especially singers such as Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Victoria de los Angeles, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. He wrote two memoirs—name either one.

      Answer: The Unashamed Accompanist and Am I Too Loud?.

      Tuesday, July 29

      Sigmund Romberg was born on this date in 1887. The Austro-Hungarian composer came to America at the age of 22. After a brief stint working in a pencil factory, he got a job playing piano in a café. He later arranged and composed music for the Schubert brothers theaters—including several shows starring Al Jolson. He is best remembered for his operettas The Student Prince, Desert Song, and New Moon. In 1954 a film was made of Romberg’s life in which he was played by Jose Ferrer. What is the name of that film?

      Answer: Deep in My Heart.

      Monday, July 28

      Today is Riccardo Muti’s 73rd birthday—born in Naples in 1941. Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and one of the most honored and respected conductors in the world, Maestro Muti is considered one of the leading interpreters of the music of Giuseppe Verdi. How did Maestro Muti celebrate Verdi’s 200th birthday last October?

      Answer: Leading the CSO & Chorus and soloists in a performance of the Verdi Requiem (which was streamed around the world).

      Friday, July 25

      Today is the birthday of the legendary former principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Adolph “Bud” Herseth—born in 1921; he passed away last year. Bud played 1st trumpet from 1948-2001, spanning the tenures of six CSO Music Directors. Which Music Director hired Bud Herseth?

      Answer: Artur Rodzinski, although he left the orchestra before the beginning of the 1948-49 season, Herseth’s first.

      Thursday, July 24

      Another “who am I?” I was born 67 years ago today. At age 11 I began studying at the Curtis Institute where my father was one of my teachers. My concert career began in 1959 when I was 13! I played at the Marlboro Festival—the festival founded by my father, my grandfather, and my great-uncle. Who am I?

      Answer: Pianist Peter Serkin.

      Wednesday, July 23

      Pianist Leon Fleisher is 86 years old today, born in 1928 in San Francisco where he began studying piano at the age of 4. Despite losing a portion of his career to focal dystonia, Mr. Fleisher has had one of the longest careers of any instrumentalists. More than 50 years ago he made a series of recordings for Columbia including all the piano concertos of Beethoven and Brahms. With what orchestra and conductor did Mr. Fleisher make those recordings?

      Answer: Cleveland Orchestra/George Szell.

      Tuesday, July 22

      Soprano Licia Albanese was born on this date in 1913—she is 101 years old today! She was a leading star at the Met from 1940-1966. She sang Butterfly more than 300 times in her career and she sang more Violettas at the Met than any other artist. In 1946 she sang Mimi in the famous NBC/Toscanini broadcast of Puccini's La Boheme, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first performance of Boheme, ALSO conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Who was her Rodolfo in that broadcast?

      Answer: Jan Peerce.

      Monday, July 21

      Who am I? I was born on this date in 1899 in Oak Park, IL. I began as a reporter for the Kansas City Star before leaving for the Italian front to enlist as a WWI ambulance driver. I was later a foreign correspondent based in Paris. I saw the Normandy landings and the liberation of Paris. I published 7 novels, 6 short story collections, and 2 non-fiction works. I won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953 and the Nobel Prize in literature in 1954. Who am I?

      Answer: Ernest Hemingway.

      Friday, July 17

      In what French opera, does a portrait on the wall come to life, urging the soprano to sing and sing until she dies? What is the opera/who is the composer?

      Answer: Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach.

      Thursday, July 17

      Today is the 100th birthday of American soprano Eleanor Steber, born in Wheeling WV. She was one of the first operatic stars to train and perform mainly in the U.S. Today is also the birthday of a younger American soprano who will be appearing in concert at Ravinia next month with the Knights chamber orchestra. Who is she?

      Answer: Dawn Upshaw, born in 1960.

      Wednesday, July 16

      This German city has been the home of three different concert halls—all bearing the same name. Only the first of these halls was aptly named because it was housed in a textile or cloth factory. Still the title remains on today’s modern version. What is the city…and what is the name of the hall?

      Answer: Leipzig Gewandhaus.

      Tuesday, July 15

      Mozart composed 27 piano concertos, 5 violin concertos, 1 concerto for each woodwind instrument, at least 4 for horn, and another for flute and harp. Which was the last concerto composed by Mozart?

      Answer: The Clarinet Concerto, K.622.

      Monday, July 14

      Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite! It’s Bastille Day, the French national holiday. We’ve already heard two versions of the French national anthem, La Marseillaise. Who wrote La Marseillaise?

      Answer: Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle.

      Thursday, July 10

      German composer Carl Orff was born in Munich on this date in 1895; he lived until 1982. He is best-remembered for his colorful cantata Carmina Burana, written in 1937. He was also influential in developing new methods of music education for children. What are the first two words of Carmina Burana?

      Answer: O Fortuna.

      Wednesday, July 9

      Italian composer Ottorino Respighi was born on this date in Bologna in 1879. He lived only to the age of 56. In addition to his Roman trilogy, he also composed many works based on 16th, 17th, and 18th century dances: his three Ancient Airs and Dances suites, The Birds, and others. He also wrote a piece depicting three paintings. What is this composition?

      Answer: Trittico Botticelliano (Botticelli Triptych) based on three Botticelli paintings in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

      Tuesday, July 8

      Composer Percy Grainger was born on this date in 1882. He left his native Australia to study in Frankfurt. He lived in England for many years and was instrumental in the revival of British folk music. He came to the U.S. in 1914 and eventually became an American citizen. He enlisted as a bandsman in the US Army in 1917, playing what instrument?

      Answer: He played saxophone...although he also reported learning the oboe.

      Monday, July 7

      Composer Gustav Mahler was born on this date in 1860. Better known as a conductor during his lifetime, he held posts with in Leipzig, Budapest, Hamburg, and Vienna. Late in his short life, he conducted at the Metropolitan Opera and was the director of the NY Philharmonic. Among those present at his burial in Vienna in 1911 were Arnold Schonberg, Bruno Walter, and the painter Gustav Klimt. Mahler was born in the town of Kalischt in what was then the Austrian Empire. In what country is that town now?

      Answer: Now known as Kaliste in the Czech Republic.

      Thursday, July 3

      Tomorrow we will have our traditional 4th of July edition of the Morning Program—filled with American music, fireworks music, etc. Included will be music by an American composer born on July 4, 1826—the 50th birthday of the U.S. and the day that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died. Who is that composer?

      Answer: Stephen Foster.

      Wednesday, July 2

      Today is the 300th birthday of composer Christoph Willibald Gluck. It is also the 100th birthday of conductor Frederick Fennell. Born in Cleveland, Fennell was the most famous conductor of his time of music for wind instruments. His recordings with the Eastman Wind Ensemble, the Cleveland Symphonic Winds, and the Dallas Wind Symphony are the gold standards of band recordings. What was Frederick Fennell’s instrument?

      Answer: Percussion.

      Tuesday, July 1

      Today is Canada Day and we are featuring various Canadian composers, artists, and ensembles. Composer Malcolm Forsyth was born in South Africa but emigrated to Canada where he played trombone in the Edmonton Symphony and was Professor of Music at the University of Alberta for 34 years. He died in 2011. Who is Malcolm Forsyth’s famous son-in-law?

      Answer: Pinchas Zukerman—who is married to Forsyth’s daughter, cellist Amanda Forsyth.

      Monday, June 30

      Today is the birthday of conductor/composer Esa-Pekka Salonen. He was Music Director of the LA Philharmonic from 1992-2009 and is currently the Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. He is also spending more time composing. Maestro Salonen is currently featured in a television commercial showing how he uses an electronic device in his composing. What is the product in the commercials?

      Answer: Apple’s iPad.

      Friday, June 27

      Earlier this week, we played music by two members of the Couperin family—who were related—and two composers named Charpentier—who were not related. Here’s a relationship question: what is the connection between Giovanni Gabrieli and Andrea Gabrieli, both of whom were organists at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice?

      Answer: Andrea was the uncle of Giovanni.

      Thursday, June 26

      Conductor Claudio Abbado was born on this date in Milan in 1933; he passed away in January. He held some of the most prestigious posts in music: music director of La Scala; conductor of the London Symphony; music director of the Vienna State Opera; principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic; and principal guest conductor of the CSO. After Maestro Abbado retired from the Berlin Philharmonic in 2002, he founded another highly-acclaimed orchestra—one that existed only in August of each year. What was that orchestra?

      Answer: Lucerne Festival Orchestra.

      Wednesday, June 25

      Igor Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird had its premiere on this date in 1910 in Paris. It was the first of the three ballets Stravinsky would composer for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in the next three years—followed by Petrouchka and The Rite of Spring. Who conducted the Firebird premiere 104 years ago today?

      Answer: Gabriel Pierne.

      Tuesday, June 24

      The composer Hans Pfitzner wrote an opera about the composer Palestrina. Friedrich von Flotow wrote an opera about the composer Alessandro Stradella. Who wrote an opera titled Mozart and Salieri?

      Answer: Rimsky-Korsakov.

      Monday, June 23

      Today is the 71st birthday of James Levine. Best known for his long association with the Metropolitan Opera, he has also been Music Director of the Ravinia Festival, the Munich Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. After a two-year hiatus due to health problems, Maestro Levine returned to the Met this past season conducting several productions. Where was James Levine born and raised?

      Answer: Cincinnati, Ohio.

      Friday, June 20

      Who am I? I was born on this date 195 years ago in Cologne, Germany, the son of a synagogue cantor. For 20 years I earned a living as a cellist and conductor. But my greatest fame came as a composer of nearly 100 comic operettas and one standard opera. Who am I?

      Answer: Jacques Offenbach, born Jacob Eberst in Germany.

      Thursday, June 19

      Sir Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations was first performed on this date in 1899. It consists of fourteen variations, each one a musical depiction of one of his acquaintances. The final variation is titled E.D.U. Whom does it portray?

      Answer: Elgar himself. Mrs. Elgar’s nickname for the composer was "Edu."

      Wednesday, June 18

      The late Roger Ebert was born on this date in 1942. He would have been 72 years old today. The late conductor Hans Vonk also would have been 72 today. A famous English composer is celebrating his 72nd birthday today. Name him.

      Answer: Paul McCartney.

      Tuesday, June 17

      Today is the birthday of Igor Stravinsky. One of his early orchestral works was composed as a wedding present for the daughter of his teacher Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov. What is the name of this short orchestral piece?

      Answer: Fireworks (Feu d’artifice).

      Monday, June 16

      Benjamin Britten’s opera Billy Budd has an all-male cast. What opera by Puccini has an all-female cast?

      Answer: Suor Angelica.

      Friday, June 13

      We are broadcasting today's "Breakfast with Carl" from what is usually our Fay and Daniel Levin Performance Studio. One week ago today, on Engineer Appreciation Day, I interviewed the former Chief Engineer of WFMT who was the designer of this excellent room. What is his name?

      Answer: Gordon Carter.

      Thursday, June 12

      What do the following pieces of music have in common? Beethoven’s Violin Concerto…Bach’s Christmas Oratorio…Haydn’s Symphony #103…and Richard Strauss’s Burleske?

      Answer: They each begin with a timpani solo.

      Wednesday, June 11

      German composer Richard Strauss was born 150 years ago today in Munich where his father Franz Strauss was the leading horn player of the court orchestra. Strauss is remembered for his operas (Rosenkavalier, Salome, and others), his tone poems (Till Eulenspiegel, Don Juan, etc.) his songs and his concertos for violin, oboe, and horn. What is the name of his autobiographical tone poem?

      Answer: Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life)].

      Tuesday, June 10

      I have been hosting the WFMT Morning Program since the last century! I started my current tenure on Monday June 10, 1996—18 years ago today. What was the first composer I played on that morning?

      Answer: J.S. Bach. The finale of the Brandenburg Concerto #1. It was before the era of Monday Morning Mozart.

      Monday, June 9

      The Danish composer Carl Nielsen was born on this date in 1865. He was also a conductor and a violinist. He is remembered for his six symphonies, his wind quintet, and concertos for violin, flute, and clarinet. What is the nickname for his Symphony #4?

      Answer: The Inextinguishable.

      Friday, June 6

      The American-Soviet composer Aram Khachaturian was born on this date 111 years ago in 1903. Born in Azerbaijan, he moved to Moscow at the age of 19 and graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1934. Among his best known works are the ballets Spartacus and Gayaneh and his Violin Concerto. The concerto was composed in 1940 and first performed and recorded by what violinist?

      Answer: David Oistrakh.

      Thursday, June 5

      American composer Daniel Pinkham was born 91 years ago today--in 1923. He died in 2006. He was the organist of King’s Chapel in Boston for 42 years and appeared as organist and harpsichordist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Pinkham’s most famous composition contains a setting of the text “Gloria in Excelsis Deo.” What is the name of the work from which this comes?

      Answer: Christmas Cantata.

      Wednesday, June 4

      Another film question today. The 1980 film Somewhere in Time was a romantic science fiction tale involving time travel starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. The film score was by John Barry. But what piece of classical music did he use as the main theme (or love theme) from Somewhere in Time?

      Answer: Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini by Rachmaninoff—specifically the 18th variation.

      Tuesday, June 3

      Yet another film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby was released last summer. What American composer wrote an operatic version of The Great Gatsby which had its premiere at the Met in 1999 and was performed at Lyric Opera of Chicago the next season?

      Answer: John Harbison.

      Monday, June 2

      On this first weekday morning in June, we offer the following: "Oh, my love is like a red, red, rose that’s newly sprung in June. My love is like a melody that’s sweetly sung in tune.” Who wrote these lovely words?

      Answer: Scottish poet Robert Burns.

      Friday, May 30

      The final movement of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony is a theme and variations on a theme that Beethoven used on three other occasions. One of them was a ballet first performed in Vienna in 1801. What is the name of the ballet in which Beethoven first used what we now call the “Eroica” theme?

      Answer:The Creatures of Prometheus, followed by the Eroica Variations for piano, the Eroica symphony, and a contredance.

      Thursday, May 29

      The ballet Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) had its famous (or infamous) premiere 101 years ago today in Paris. It was produced by Serge Diaghilev for his Ballets Russes company. Igor Stravinsky wrote the music; Pierre Monteux conducted. Who choreographed the first performance of The Rite of Spring?

      Answer: Vaclav Nijinsky.

      Wednesay, May 28

      Tomorrow is the birthday of American soprano Susanna Phillips, born in 1981. Ms. Phillips has sung frequently in Chicago in the last few years. Earlier this month she gave a Schubert recital with Eric Owens. And last week she filled in as soprano soloist in four concerts with the CSO when soprano Dorothea Roschmann had to cancel. What did Ms. Phillips sing with the Chicago Symphony last week?

      Answer: Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss.

      Tuesday, May 27

      One of Gilbert & Sullivan’s most popular operettas, H.M.S. Pinafore had its debut in 1878 in London –136 years ago this week. When the plot finally unravels, Ralph Rackstraw ends up with his beloved Josephine; the former Captain Corcoran ends up with Little Buttercup. What is the name of the character who describes himself as the Monarch of the Sea—the one with all the sisters and cousins and aunts?

      Answer: Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B.

      Friday, May 23

      Yesterday, in addition to being Wagner’s birthday, was also the anniversary of the first performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem. It was performed in the church of San Marcos in Milan, May 22, 1874. In whose honor was the Verdi Requiem composed?

      Answer: Allesandro Manzoni, and Italian poet and novelist.

      Thursday, May 22

      Today is the 201st anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner, born in Leipzig in 1813. His career took him to several German cities, but also to Riga, Latvia and to Paris. And he lived in Switzerland for several years when he was barred from Germany because of his political views. In what German city did Wagner direct the design and construction of his own opera house specifically for the presentation of his operas?

      Answer: Bayreuth. The Bayreuth Festspielhaus opened in 1876.

      Wednesday, May 21

      Ruggero Leoncavallo’s opera Pagliacci had its premiere on this date, May 21, 1892 in Milan. The conductor was a 25-year-old Arturo Toscanini. What character in Pagliacci steps in front of the curtain to deliver the prologue to the opera?

      Answer: The baritone Tonio.

      Tuesday, May 20

      Some of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies have nicknames. #1 is “Winter Dreams.” #6 is the “Pathetique.” What is the nickname of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #2?

      Answer: Little Russian--an old term for Ukraine.

      Monday, May 19

      The Ballets Russes staged its first performance in Paris on this date in 1909. The Ballets Russes is widely regarded as the most influential ballet company of the 20th century. The company commissioned works from composers Igor Stravinsky and Claude Debussy, artists Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse and designer Coco Chanel among others. Who founded the Ballets Russes?

      Answer: Sergei Diaghilev.

      Thursday, May 15

      This musical term refers to a dance from southern Italy. The word derives from the mistaken belief that one could cure the bite of a certain spider by dancing this dance. What is the term?

      Answer: The tarantella.

      Wednesday, May 14

      The German conductor Otto Klemperer was born on this date in 1885 in Breslau which is now part of Poland. Klemperer’s career was a difficult one for many reasons including political differences and health problems. But his career was revived in the 1950s when Walter Legge began a series of recordings for EMI with Klemperer conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra. Otto Klemperer’s son was an actor known best for a role in an American sitcom. Who was his son and what was the role?

      Answer: Werner Klemperer, a distinguished actor, is best-remembered for the role of Col. Klink in Hogan’s Heroes.

      Tuesday, May 13

      Sir Arthur Sullivan was born on this date in 1842. We just hear some of his concert music and an excerpt from a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta. During his lifetime, Sir Arthur was also known as the composer of a popular hymn. Officially, the hymn-tune is known as St. Gertrude but it’s most often sung to lyrics by Sabine Baring-Gould. What is the name of this Victorian Era hymn?

      Answer: Onward, Christian Soldiers.

      Monday, May 12

      Today is the anniversary of the coronation of King George VI at Westminster Abbey—May 12, 1937. Who wrote the coronation march and what is its title?

      Answer: William Walton: Crown Imperial.

      Friday, May 9

      The beloved Italian conductor Carlo Maria Giulini was born 100 years ago today. He studied violin, viola, and conducting at the Santa Cecilia National Academy in Rome. He won a conducting competition at age 18 but was drafted into the Italian army. After WWII he began his long career conducting the great orchestras and in the great opera houses of the world. In 1955 he had made his American debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, leading to a 23-year association including a period as Principal Guest Conductor. He continued to appear with the CSO until 1978 when he became Music Director of what major orchestra?

      Answer: Los Angeles Philharmonic.

      Thursday, May 8

      Louis Moreau Gottschalk was born on this date in 1829. The son of a London businessman and a Creole mother, Gottschalk is best-remembered as a composer and a virtuoso pianist. At age 13 he went to Europe to study but was turned down by the Paris Conservatory because of his nationality. He spent most of the rest of his short life in Central America and South America and died in Rio de Janeiro at the age of 40. Gottschalk re-used one of his early piano pieces, Bamboula, in his Symphony #1. What is the sub-title of his first symphony?

      Answer: A Night in the Tropics.

      Wednesday, May 7

      Johannes Brahms and Piotr Illyich Tchaikovsky—those twin pillars of romanticism—were both born on May 7—Brahms in 1833, Tchaikovsky in 1840. Brahms specialized in symphonic, choral, and piano music. Tchaikovsky in symphonic, ballet, and opera. All of their symphonies are in the standard repertoire. Together, how many completed symphonies did they compose?

      Answer: 10-- 4 by Brahms, 6 by Tchaikovsky.

      Tuesday, May 6

      Today’s quiz is a Mozart Math problem! Ready? Start with the number of Mozart symphonies…subtract the number of piano concertos…add the number of violin concertos…and subtract the number of da Ponte operas. What is the answer?

      Answer: 16. 41-27+5-3=16.

      Monday, May 5

      Who am I? I was born on this date in 1915. I was an Academy Award-winning actor, director, writer, and producer. I was known not only for films, but for my work on radio, the stage, and even television. In a 2002 British Film Institute poll, I was chosen the greatest film director of all-time. I was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Who am I?

      Answer: Orson Welles.

      Friday, May 2

      Serge Prokofiev was commissioned by the Central Children’s theatre in Moscow to compose a musical symphony for children. He wrote the story and the music for Peter and the Wolf in just four days. The premiere was on this date in 1936. Which character is depicted by the horn section?

      Answer: The wolf.

      Thursday, May 1

      Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro had its premiere on this date in 1786 in Vienna. In Act II of Figaro, the Count Almaviva—who usually address the Countess with very formal manners—calls her by her given name. What is the Countess Almaviva’s first name?

      Answer: Rosina, as we know from The Barber of Seville.

      Wednesday, April 30

      Franz Lehar, best known for his operettas and waltzes, was born on this date in 1870—he lived until 1948. His most successful show was The Merry Widow in 1905. Many of his later shows featured tenor Richard Tauber. In just a few moments we’ll hear Richard Tauber sing Lehar’s Dein ist mein ganzes Herz which comes from what operetta?

      Answer: The Land of Smiles—Das Land des Lachelns.

      Tuesday, April 29

      Today is quite a day for conductors’ birthdays. Sir Malcom Sargent, Zubin Mehta, and Sir Thomas Beecham were all born on April 29. Put them in order—youngest first.

      Answer: Zubin Mehta, 1936; Malcolm Sargent, 1895; Thomas Beecham, 1879.

      Monday, April 28

      265 years ago yesterday--April 27, 1749--the first performance of The Music for the Royal Fireworks by Georg Frideric Handel took place at a concert in Green Park in London. An estimated 12,000 people attended—many of whom had to flee for the exits when one of the edifices caught fire. The fireworks display and the music were created to celebrate the signing of a treaty ending a war. Name either the treaty or the war.

      Answer: Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ending the War of the Austrian Succession.

      Friday, April 25

      On this date in 1926, Arturo Toscanini was conducting a performance at La Scala, Milan. But in the middle of Act III he stopped, laid down the baton, and announced to the audience, “Here the opera ends because at this point the Maestro died.” What opera was he conducting?—title and composer, please

      Answer: Turandot by Puccini.

      Thursday, April 24

      Because yesterday was Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, another question about the Bard of Avon. For the last 34 years of his life he was married to a woman whose name was…? (first and last name, please)

      Answer: Anne Hathaway.

      Wednesday, April 23

      William Shakespeare was born on this date in in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564—450 years ago today. Next week, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre will open a production of the same Shakespeare play which launched Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in 1986. What is it?

      Answer: Henry V.

      Tuesday, April 22

      Johann Sebastian Bach was elected the Cantor of Leipzig on this date in 1723. But he was far from the first choice of the Leipzig Town Council. Name at least one of the composers who was offered the position before they had to “settle” for the man from Cöthen.

      Answer: Georg Philip Telemann, Christoph Graupner.

      Monday, April 21

      A choral music-inspired question today on the Morning Program Quiz. Conductor John Nelson was just in town to conduct Bach's St. Matthew Passion at the Harris Theatre. He was music director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra from 1976 to 1987. Maestro Nelson was a graduate student in orchestral conducting at The Juilliard School, but earlier studied at a college in the suburbs of Chicago. Where did John Nelson go to undergraduate school?

      Answer: Wheaton College.

      Friday, April 18

      Composer Miklos Rozsa was born in Budapest on this date in 1907. Although best known for his film scores, Rozsa’s contract with MGM stipulated that he could devote three months a year to composing classical music. Among his many compositions, he wrote a violin concerto for Jascha Heifetz and a cello concerto for Janos Starker. His third and final Academy Award was for his score for a 1959 epic starring Charlton Heston. What was that film?

      Answer: Ben-Hur.

      Thursday, April 17

      The Russian composer Piotr Tchaikovsky spent some happy times in Italy. One musical result was his Capriccio Italien. He also wrote a string sextet as a remembrance of what Italian city?

      Answer: Florence.

      Wednesday, April 16

      Who am I? I was born 90 years ago today in the Little Italy section of Cleveland. Best known for my television and film scores, I won 20 Grammy Awards and 4 Academy Awards. Some of my most famous scores include the Pink Panther theme, the Peter Gunn theme, and the songs “Moon River” and “The Days of Wine and Roses.” Who am I?

      Answer: Henry Mancini.

      Tuesday, April 15

      Sir Neville Marriner turns 90 today—born in Lincoln, England in 1924. He founded the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in 1958. But before beginning his career as a conductor, he played violin in the Philharmonia Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. His son Andrew is currently a principal player in the London Symphony—on what instrument?

      Answer: Andrew Marriner plays the clarinet.

      Monday, April 14

      The great British actor Sir John Gielgud was born 110 years ago today. Along with Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson, they dominated the British theatre through much of the 20th century. Gielgud acted in his first movie in 1924 (!) but did not win an Academy Award until almost 60 years later. For what American film did he win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor?

      Answer: The 1981 comedy “Arthur” starring Dudley Moore.

      Tuesday, March 25

      The legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini was born on this date in 1867 in Parma, Italy. His conducting debut took place at the age of 19 in Rio de Janeiro when he left his spot in the orchestra of a touring opera company to fill in as emergency conductor of a performance of Verdi’s Aida. The rest, of course, is history. In what section of the orchestra was he playing? What was Toscanini’s instrument?

      Answer: Cello.

      Monday, March 24

      In 1900, a London newspaper reported on the first local performance of a new opera: “Those who were present were little prepared for the torture and murder scenes taken from Sardou’s play. What has music to do with a lustful man chasing a defenseless woman or the dying kicks of a murdered scoundrel?” What was the opera being reviewed?

      Answer: Puccini’s Tosca.

      Friday, March 21

      Today is the 329th birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach, born in in Eisenach in 1685. This month we are also celebrating the 300th birthday of his son Carl Philip Emmanuel (CPE) Bach, born March 8, 1714. There was one older son of J.S. Bach who also had a musical career. He was born in 1710. Which Bach son was that?

      Answer: Wilhelm Friedemann Bach.

      Thursday, March 20

      It’s the first day of Spring! In the spring time, the only pretty ring time, When birds do sing, hey ding-a-ling-a-ling, Sweet lovers love the spring! That text by Shakespeare which has been set by so many composers appears in what play?

      Answer: As You Like It.

      Wednesday, March 19

      Who am I? I was born on yesterday’s date in 1950 in Queens, New York. I entered Juilliard at the age of 18 and at 24 I became the youngest conductor ever engaged for a regular NY Philharmonic concert. I also conducted the Metropolitan Opera on tour in my mid-20s. My posts have included the Cologne Opera, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Paris Opera, and the Van Cliburn Competition. My current posts include the Los Angeles Opera and a summer festival in the Midwest. Who am I?

      Answer: James Conlon, 64 years old yesterday.

      Tuesday, March 18

      Russian composer Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov was born 170 years ago today. Best–remembered for orchestral showpieces such as Capriccio Espagnol, Russian Easter Overture, and Scheherazade, he was also a prolific composer of operas. Shortly after his death, one of his private students dedicated a short orchestra work to Rimsky’s daughter on the occasion of her wedding. Who was the pupil and what was the piece?

      Answer: Igor Stravinsky’s Fireworks.

      Monday, March 17

      Today is St. Patrick’s Day, so a question about an Irish musician—flutist Sir James Galway. He, along with Jean-Pierre Rampal, is one of the few flutists to have a successful solo career. He began as an orchestral player with the Philharmonia Orchestra. He then played with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, the London Symphony, and the Royal Philharmonic. Before embarking on a solo career he was principal flute of another major European orchestra from 1969-1975. What was that orchestra?

      Answer: The Berlin Philharmonic led by Herbert von Karajan.

      Friday, March 14

      The annual New Year’s Day Concert in Vienna is traditionally filled with music by Johann Strauss Jr. But the concert always concludes with a march by Johann, the elder—born on this date in 1804. What is the name of this composition?

      Answer: The Radetzky March.

      Friday, March 14

      The annual New Year’s Day Concert in Vienna is traditionally filled with music by Johann Strauss Jr. But the concert always concludes with a march by Johann, the elder—born on this date in 1804. What is the name of this composition?

      Answer: The Radetzky March.

      Thursday, March 13

      The Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam is one of the world’s finest orchestras. It officially became the Royal Concertgebouw in 1988 by decree of Queen Beatrix. Willem Mengelberg led the orchestra from 1895-1941! Bernard Haitink had a long tenure with the orchestra and was named Conductor Laureate in 1999. Who is the current Music Director of the Concertgebouw?

      Answer: Since 2004, Mariss Jansons.

      Wednesday, March 12

      The English composer Thomas Augustine Arne was born on this date in 1710. The leading British theatre composer of the 18th century, he worked mainly at Drury Lane and Covent Garden. He is credited with composing the song A-Hunting We Will Go and a popular British patriotic song which first appeared in a play called The Masque of Alfred in 1740. It is always sung with great fervor at the Last Night of the Proms. What is this patriotic song composed by Arne?

      Answer: Rule, Brittania.

      Tuesday, March 11

      It was on this date in 1829 that the Bach Revival began. Most of Bach’s music had been unperformed and unheard since his death almost 80 years earlier. But a 20-year old Felix Mendelssohn organized and conducted a performance of one of Bach’s masterpieces in Berlin. It was such a sensation that two more performances were scheduled immediately. What was the Bach work performed March 11, 1829?

      Answer: St. Matthew Passion.

      Monday, March 10

      Today is the birthday of Lorenzo da Ponte—born in Vittorio Veneto, Italy on this date 265 years ago. He died in New York in 1838. One of the more interesting characters in history, he wrote the librettos for 28 operas by 11 different composers. But he is best-remembered for the three he wrote for Mozart. What are the three Mozart/da Ponte operas?

      Answer: The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, and Don Giovanni.

      Friday, March 7

      French composer Maurice Ravel was born on this date in 1875. Late in his career, he wrote Bolero, originally titled Fandango. He called it “an experiment in a very special and limited direction. He also used the phrase “a piece for orchestra without music.” The 1934 film Bolero starring Carole Lombard and George Raft used Ravel’s theme. What 1979 romantic comedy film actually mentioned Ravel’s composition as part of the dialogue?

      Answer: 10 starring Dudley Moore, Julie Andrews, and Bo Derek.

      Thursday, March 6

      Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is 70 years old today—born March 6, 1944 in New Zealand. Her operatic career began in 1968 and she is one of the most beloved artists of her generation—particularly associated with music of Mozart, Strauss, and Puccini. Last year she appeared on the television series Downton Abbey, playing what character?

      Answer: Dame Nellie Melba, the Australian opera star.

      Thursday, March 6

      Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is 70 years old today—born March 6, 1944 in New Zealand. Her operatic career began in 1968 and she is one of the most beloved artists of her generation—particularly associated with music of Mozart, Strauss, and Puccini. Last year she appeared on the television series Downton Abbey, playing what character?

      Answer: Dame Nellie Melba, the Australian opera star.

      Wednesday, March 5

      Philip Farkas was born 100 years ago today. Who was Philip Farkas? Please answer from a Chicago standpoint.

      Answer: He was principal horn player of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1936 (when he was 22 years old!) until 1941. After playing 1st horn with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Boston Symphony, he returned to the CSO from 1948-1960.

      Tuesday, March 4

      Among several musical birthdays today—Antonio Vivaldi and Bernard Haitink, the most important—today is also the official birthday of the City of Chicago. Who wrote the song “Chicago” (that toddlin’ town)?

      Answer: Fred Fisher. It was published in 1922.

      Monday, March 3

      This year marks the 200th anniversary of the poem “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which became our national anthem. But it wasn’t officially adopted as the national anthem by Congress until this date, March 3, 1931! Who wrote the poem “The Star-Spangled Banner?” and in what city was he inspired by the sight of the broad stripes and bright stars?

      Answer: Francis Scott Key, when the flag was raised over Ft. McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812.

      Friday, February 27

      Thirty-one years ago tonight, one of the most-watched episodes in the history of American television was aired. The final episode of M*A*S*H featured music by Mozart as part of the plot. What was the work by Mozart that was heard by millions, 31 years ago tonight?

      Answer: His Clarinet Quintet.

      Thursday, February 27

      The English composer Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry was born on this date in 1848—166 years ago. He was director of the Royal College of Music from 1895 until his death in 1918 and was also professor of music at Oxford. He is best remembered for his coronation anthem I Was Glad, the hymn tune Repton, and for a setting of the anthem Jerusalem which is considered a second national anthem in England. Who wrote the poem on which Jerusalem is based?

      Answer: William Blake.

      Wednesday, February 26

      The Grand Canyon was established as an official national park 95 years ago today—February 26, 1919. Who composed the Grand Canyon Suite?

      Answer: Ferde Grofe.

      Tuesday, February 25

      The Beatles have been mentioned prominently this month—the 50th anniversary of their arrival in America in 1964. Today is the birthday of George Harrison. Most of the Beatles hits were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Name one of the Beatles songs written by George Harrison.

      Answer: Something, Here Comes the Sun, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, It’s All Too Much, Within You Without You, Taxman.

      Monday, February 24

      Yesterday was the birthday of Georg Frideric Handel, born in 1685 in Halle, Germany. Most of his career took place in London and he is buried in Westminster Abbey. Handel wrote Water Music to accompany an excursion on the Thames by an English monarch who had previously been the Elector of Hanover—and Handel’s employer—in Germany. What was the name of this British king?

      Answer: George I.

      Friday, February 21

      The Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia was born on this date in 1893—121 years ago. He is the major figure in granting respectability to the guitar as a serious concert instrument. His contribution to the modern repertoire not only includes commissions, but also his own transcriptions of many works. A 1954 work written for Andres Segovia by Joaquin Rodrigo carries a dedication, of sorts, in its title. What is this work for guitar and orchestra?

      Answer: Fantasia para un gentilhombre—Fantasia for a Gentleman.

      Thursday, February 20

      Rossini’s comic opera The Barber of Seville had its premiere on this date in 1816 in Rome. One of the most popular operas of the last 200 years, Barber has just a few performances left at LOC. Who is singing the title role of Figaro, the barber?

      Answer: American baritone Nathan Gunn.

      Wednesday, February 19

      Violinist Gil Shaham was born on this date in 1971—he’s 43 today. He began his violin studies at the age of 7 in Jerusalem and played for Isaac Stern, Nathan Milstein, and Henryk Szerying. He made his Israel Philharmonic debut at the age of 10 and was admitted to the Juilliard School at 11. He received the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990—when he was 19 years old. Where was Gil Shaham born?

      Answer: Urbana, Illinois. His parents, Israeli scientists, were on academic fellowship at the U-I.

      Tuesday, February 18

      It’s well past Valentine’s Day, but here is a famous speech about love. When Duke Orsino says, “If music be the food of love, play on. Give me excess of it; that surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die,” in what play is he speaking? Title and author, please.

      Answer: Twelfth Night by Shakespeare.

      Monday, February 17

      The world premiere took place 110 years ago today—February 17, 1904—at La Scala, Milan. Despite such famous singers as Rosina Storchio in the title role and baritone Giuseppe De Luca, it was a complete disaster! This was in part because of inadequate rehearsal time, but also because of some elements in the audience who were jealous of the composer, Giacomo Puccini. Today, it’s in the Top Ten of most performed operas in the world. And Puccini once confided that it was his favorite. What was the opera?

      Answer: Madama Butterfly.

      Friday, February 14

      Today, on Valentine's Day, music about love. From famous couples to beautiful love songs to magical tales of romance. This hour is devoted to various settings of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet--an overture-fantasy, an opera, a ballet, even a Broadway show. Who composed the opera Romeo et Juliette?

      Answer: Charles Gounod.

      Thursday, February 13

      This month, we're playing music about the Animal Kingdom. All of the music could be called descriptive. But in some compositions--such as Peter and the Wolf or Carnival of the Animals--specific instruments depict specific animals. In Peter and the Wolf, what instrument depicts the duck?

      Answer: The oboe.

      Wednesday, February 12

      Today is the 90th anniversary of the premiere of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, February 12, 1924 at Aeolian Hall in New York. The rhapsody was barely completed by the night of the first performance—Gershwin improvised some of the piano solo. And the Paul Whiteman Band played the connecting material. Later, when Gershwin created a final version, he had the dance band parts orchestrated by…whom?

      Answer: Ferde Grofe.

      Tuesday, February 11

      Gaetano Donizetti composed three operas—sometimes referred to as “The Three Queens”—dealing with the Tudor period in English history. The three operas are Maria Stuarda, Roberto Devereux, and…the third was just announced on Lyric Opera’s 2014-15 season. What is that opera?

      Answer: Anna Bolena.

      Monday, February 10

      As we’ve been saying, it may have been 20 years ago today that Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play, but it was 50 years ago today that everybody was talking about the Beatles' first performance on Ed Sullivan the night before. The first Beatles LP to be released in the United States was “Introducing the Beatles” on the Vee-Jay label. But a few days later, Capitol Records released the LP that most of us remember—the one with the iconic black and white photos of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. What was the name of that album?

      Answer: Meet the Beatles

      Friday, February 7

      The XXII Winter Olympic Games open today in Sochi, Russia. Classical music is most often heard at the Olympics during the figure skating competition. Who won the Gold Medal in Women’s Figure Skating in the 1988 Winter Games, skating to Rodion Shchedrin’s arrangement of Bizet’s Carmen?

      Answer: Katarina Witt of (then) East Germany.

      Thursday, February 6

      Queen Anne of England, the last monarch of the House of Stuart, was born on this date in 1665. Who composed an “Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne” which likened Anne to the rising of the sun?

      Answer: Handel.

      Wednesday, February 5

      After composing Aida, Giuseppe Verdi retired to his farm—for 16 years. But he was lured out of retirement in 1887 to write an opera based on Shakespeare. A few years later he concluded his composing career with another Shakespeare opera. Along with an much earlier opera, that made 3 Shakespeare operas by Verdi. Which two have Riccardo Muti and the CSO performed in concerts in the last few seasons?

      Answer: Otello in 2011 and Macbeth last fall. Falstaff is still coming!

      Tuesday, February 4

      Yesterday--when we had a question about the Super Bowl--was also the birthday of Felix Mendelssohn, born in 1809 in Hamburg. Although he lived only until the age of 38, he wrote symphonies, concertos, piano music, and chamber music. From 1845-1847, Mendelssohn was the Music Director of what major orchestra?

      Answer: The Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig.

      Monday, February 3

      Earlier in this hour we played some music in honor of yesterday’s Super Bowl winner. Yesterday was a special day in NFL history for another reason, too. The founder of the Chicago Bears was born on February 2, 1895. Who founded the Bears—and was also instrumental in founding the NFL?

      Answer: George S. Halas.

      Friday, January 31

      Franz Schubert was born on this date in 1797. Although he lived only until the age of 31, he composed almost 1,000 works—more than 600 songs, 7 complete symphonies, the Unfinished Symphony, 21 piano sonatas, 30 chamber works, 6 Masses, and 5 operas. Two of his famous song cycles—Die Schone Mullerin and Winterreise are settings of poems by the same poet. Who was the poet?

      Answer: Wilhelm Muller.

      Thursday, January 30

      Today is the 70th birthday of American cellist Lynn Harrell, born in New York in 1944. Son of the great baritone Mack Harrell, Lynn was the winner of the very first Avery Fisher Prize which he shared with Murray Perahia. Even earlier in his career, he was named principal cellist of a major American orchestra. What orchestra?

      Answer: The Cleveland Orchestra. He joined the orchestra in 1962 at the age of 18. He became principal cellist two years later.

      Wednesday, January 29

      English composer Frederick Delius was born on this date in 1862 in the north of England. He is probably best-remembered for his short orchestral pieces with wonderfully atmospheric titles like “On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring” or “Summer Night on the River.” He also composed some operas or, as some were called, Lyric Dramas. Name any one of these compositions.

      Answer: We’ll accept: Irmelin, Koanga, A Village Romeo and Juliet, or Fennimore and Gerda.

      Tuesday, January 28

      Sir John Tavener was born on this date in Wembley, London in 1944. Today would have been his 70th birthday; he died last November. A former classmate, John Rutter, described Tavener as having the “very rare gift of being able to bring an audience to a deep silence.” What is the name of the Tavener anthem sung at Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997?

      Answer: Song for Athene.

      Monday, January 27

      Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg on this date in 1756—258 years ago today. Music of the Baroque is performing Mozart’s Coronation Mass tonight at the Harris Theater. In her book “Mozart’s Women,” Jane Glover writes about the three most influential women in Mozart’s life. Who were they?

      Answer: His mother Maria Anna, his sister Nannerl, and his wife Constanze.

      Friday, January 24

      The German writer E.T.A. Hoffmann was born on this date in 1776. Offenbach's opera The Tales of Hoffmann is based on some of Hoffmann's stories. But the ballets The Nutcracker and Coppelia are also based on Hoffmann tales. He was born with the name Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann which would make his name E.T. M. Hoffmann. But he changed his third name in honor of a composer. What composer?

      Answer: He changed his name to E.T. Amadeus Hoffmann in honor of Mozart.

      Thursday, January 23

      Today is the birthday of the Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, born in 1898. Some of his early silent films included Battleship Potemkin and October. But two of his later epic films had scores by Sergei Prokofiev. Name BOTH of those Eisenstein films.

      Answer: Alexander Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible.

      Wednesday, January 22

      The great American baritone William Warfield was born on this date in 1920 in Arkansas. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, he went on to a career as a baritone soloist--especially in the song repertoire and oratorio. His most famous roles included Porgy in Porgy and Bess and Joe in Showboat. He taught at the University of Illinois for many years. And in his last years, Mr. Warfield taught at what local university?

      Answer: Northwestern.

      Tuesday, January 21

      Today is the birthday of tenor and conductor Placido Domingo, born in 1941. He is 73 today. A few years ago, after more than 100 recordings and more than 140 roles, he announced that he would sing some baritone roles to continue his stage career. He has sung Simon Boccanegra, Rigoletto, and Nabucco among others. Last spring he made his debut singing the role of yet another famous Verdi father at the Metropolitan Opera. What role did he sing last March?

      Answer: Giorgio Germont.

      Monday, January 20

      Last Friday, Lyric Opera of Chicago announced the plans for their upcoming new production of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle. The last time LOC presented a Ring cycle was in 2005. Who sang the role of Wotan in those performances?

      Answer: James Morris.

      Friday, January 17

      Tomorrow is the birthday of composer Emmanuel Chabrier, born in the Auvergne region of France in 1841. Probably best-remembered for his Espana Rhapsody for orchestra and his Marche Joyeuse, he also composed several operas, songs, and piano pieces. The melody of his Espana Rhapsody became the basis for the popular song Hot Diggity Dog Ziggity sung by Perry Como in the 1950s. But another composer turned that tune into the Espana Waltz. Who made that version of Chabrier's melody?

      Answer: Emile Waldteufel.

      Thursday, January 16

      Today's mystery artist is a great American singer who is 80 years old today. Name the singer.

      Answer: Marilyn Horne.

      Wednesday, January 15

      Who am I? I was born 100 years ago today in France. I died in France in 1992, but I considered myself an American, coming to his country at age 7. My first music position was organist of St. Ambrose Church in West Hollywood, when I was 12! I went on to a career as a choral conductor and arranger. I founded two famous chorales--one named after me, the other the Los Angeles Master Chorale. I also taught at UCLA for more than three decades. Who am I?

      Answer: Roger Wagner.

      Tuesday, January 14

      Conductor Mariss Jansons was born on this date in 1943--he's 71 today. Maestro Jansons was Music Director of the Pittsburgh SO for seven seasons, leaving, partially, for health reasons. (His father died while conducting the Halle Orchestra in 1984.) He has been Chief Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam since 2002. In what country was Mariss Jansons born?

      Answer: Latvia.

      Monday, January 13

      During a long illness, a German composer wrote a symphony for wind instruments and titled it "From an Invalid's Workshop." I, on the other hand, spent a great deal of time during the last four weeks watching football! Who composed "From an Invalid's Workshop?"

      Answer: Richard Strauss.

      Friday, January 10

      Conductor and composer Jean Martinon, the seventh Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, was born on this date in 1910 in Lyon, France. While a student at the Paris Conservatory, he studied with Albert Roussel, Charles Munch and Vincent d’Indy. Who were Martinon’s predecessor and successor as Music Director of the CSO?

      Answer: Fritz Reiner and Sir Georg Solti.

      Thursday, January 9

      Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States was born 101 years ago today in Yorba Linda, California. In 1963, Nixon appeared on the Tonight Show with Jack Paar and played a short piece arranged in the form of a mini piano concerto. Who was the composer of the short piece?

      Answer: Mr. Nixon himself.

      Wednesday, January 8

      Czech composer Jaromir Weinberger was born on this date in 1896 in Prague. He spent time in the U.S., teaching at Cornell and at Ithaca College. The name of his best-known opera is Svanda Dudak (in Czech). It has also been recorded in German as Schwanda der Dudelsackpfeifer. What is the English translation of Weinberger’s opera?

      Answer: Schwanda the Bagpiper.

      Tuesday, January 7

      French composer Francis Poulenc was born 115 years ago today in Paris. One of the staples of the flute repertoire, the Poulenc Sonata, was first performed at the 1957 Strasbourg Festival with the composer at the piano. Who was the flutist who gave the world premiere?

      Answer: Jean Pierre Rampal, who shares the January 7 birthday with Poulenc. Rampal in 1922.

      Monday, January 6

      Today is Epiphany, or 12th Night, the end of the twelve days of Christmas. And according to tradition, it’s the day the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem. According to that same tradition, what were the names of the three magi?

      Answer: Kaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar.

      Friday, January 3

      An art inspired question today. In 1874 the paintings of Russian artist Viktor Hartmann inspired Modest Mussorgsky to write a work. It appears in its original piano for, and has been orchestrated by a number of composers, most notably Maurice Ravel. What is this work by Mussorgsky?

      Answer: Pictures at an Exhibition.